Fleet News

Shock findings in distraction study

EXCLUSIVE Fleet News research has shown how emergency stopping distances rocket because of basic distractions such as tuning a radio. The results are part of a Fleet News study which looked at the effect of distractions on drivers and their ability to respond.

Tests covering areas from mobile phone use to eating at the wheel showed that reaction times slowed in some cases by more than 90%.

Adjusting controls such as those seen on in-car stereos, satellite navigation units or digital air-conditioning units gave the most alarming results.

When using switches on the dash of a simulator reaction times slowed by a staggering 93% at 60mph. Overall stopping distances increased from 59.4 metres to 85.2 metres and reaction times almost doubled from 0.751 seconds to 1.447 seconds. Additional findings from the research showed that reaction times even increased by 29% when eating a packet of crisps at the wheel, with stopping distances increasing by 13%.

The tests were carried out on a driving simulator operated by the British School of Motoring (BSM). The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) wants more work to be done on driver distraction. A spokesman said: ‘We would like to see more research into the whole area of distraction. We are concerned that cars are becoming more like mobile offices.’

Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA Motoring Trust, said that even listening to the radio could be distracting. He said: ‘Some things which drivers think are not distracting are actually quite bad. An example is listening to the traffic reports on the radio. When drivers are listening for their particular motorway junction or trying to work out which road they are on, they are not concentrating on their driving.’

Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of John Lewis vouchers.

Every issue of Fleet News the editor picks his favourite comment from the past two weeks – get involved for your chance to appear in print and win!

Login to comment

Comments

No comments have been made yet.

Compare costs of your company cars

Looking to acquire new vehicles? Check how much they'll cost to run with our Car Running Cost calculator.

What is your BIK car tax liability?

The Fleet News car tax calculator lets you work out tax costs for both employer and employee